HR Technology

Five Predictions for Where HR Technology Is Going in 2014

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The role of HR has morphed in recent years.

The development of new apps and technologies have enabled human resource managers to move beyond a purely administrative role to tend to more humanistic objectives. At the same time, tech tools are getting more accessible and easier to configure and use.

That’s not just a win for employers; it’s a win for the employees asked to use the technology day in and out.

5 HR Tech trends for the New Year

As we ring in 2014, HR professionals at companies large and small should be ready for a few changes and trends that the new year could bring. Here are a few:

  1. User experience will continue to be the challenge entrenched HR systems struggle with. As operational efficiency becomes the minimum viable product in the software space, the quality of employee experience and adoption will come into sharp focus as the differentiator in HR tech. Why this matters: Hiring is up, and that means competition for talent is too. Hiring and HR managers alike need to get beyond servicing their own productivity and consider the impact that good (or bad!) tools have on an employee’s perception of a company’s overall operations.
  2. HR tech will further cut into traditional operational roles of HR at companies small and large. This is a good thing; it means HR folks can spend more time on the human aspects of the workplace, and less time chasing papers and emails. Why this matters: Good operations are the foundation of good company culture. Moving beyond the whack-a-mole game of operational HR and into helping employees learn, grow, and contribute will be a key differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace for talent.
  3. Small businesses are the focus of innovation in the HR tech space. Comprehensive HR tools coupled with stunning point solutions for recruiting and performance management are coming of age and are increasingly accessible to smaller organizations. Why this matters: Small companies are the lifeblood of the economy and have historically gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to HR tech. There’s a growing ecology of apps and services out there that help small companies compete in the talent market. That’s good for entrepreneurship, which is good for diversity and innovation.
  4. Small companies will find ways to deal with and grow with the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). It will still be here, and employers will adapt and, likely, save money in the long run. Why this matters: The botched roll out put employers, big and small, on shaky ground. As the government’s technology improves and education makes its way around the country, companies will have more cost-effective options and will be able to put more choices into their employee’s hands.
  5. PEO’s (professional employer organizations) will get more creative and aggressive in the marketplace. Jockeying for payroll and insurance dollars, they’re giving a lot of free software away! Why this matters: As the economy gains momentum again, would-be startup founders will get more and more confident about throwing their hat into the ring. Many of them need a helping hand with managing office/employer duties in the early days, and the newer, tech-centric PEO options out there speak the entrepreneur’s language a lot better than the more traditional HR consultancies out there.

It’s about creating a great workplace experience

If you’re an HR professional, a startup founder, or an office manager wearing multiple hats, take note of how these trends will impact the HR landscape in 2014. Educate yourself on the tools and services that speak to your objectives as a workplace, rather than solely as a stopgap.

And remember this as you embark on the new year: employees are the lifeblood of any company. Create a great workplace experience for them, and they’ll pay you back one hundred fold in feedback and productivity.

Craig Bryant is a cofounder of We Are Mammoth, a software services and consulting firm in Chicago, and the founder and product manager of Kin HR.
  • adamcvine

    Very well said Craig! Agreed. Small companies are the innovation engine behind this next wave of HR Tech growth…and for that matter, much of tech growth in general. But what’s the point of all these new HR efficiency platforms? To spend more quality time growing the greatest asset in one’s firm…and that’s…their staff! I wrote a brief blog post on this subject a few months back http://bit.ly/1gE947Y

    • Craig Bryant

      Hey Adam –

      You’re spot on. Software/tech shouldn’t create more space between coworkers, it should close the gap. That’s criteria employers should use when evaluating new systems because they’ll inevitably introduce technical/social debt to our teams. Is it worth it?